Collagen Loss: How to Protect the Collagen in Your Skin

Josh Beaty

Collagen Loss: How to Protect the Collagen in Your Skin

October 30, 2019

Naturally healthy, glowing, younger-looking skin—that's the goal, right?

As we age, our body produces less collagen; the protein involved with skin strength and elasticity. Time causes this collagen to degrade, leading to the wrinkles we all associate with aging. 

What if you could press pause on your body's collagen loss?

In young skin, collagen makes up over 70% of the normal dermis' dry weight. Collagen helps the skin look smooth and healthy. As we grow older, however, our body's collagen factories slow production, causing the skin to thin.

With these five tips, you can make lifestyle changes that have a major impact on collagen loss in the skin. 

Restore your skin with these collagen production tips!

1. Change Your Diet

Numerous lifestyle choices can impact your skin, causing it to appear flimsy and weak. Factors that cause collagen loss include:

  • Pollution
  • Smoking
  • Ultraviolet rays
  • Stress
  • Caffeine 

These factors can all produce free radicals in the skin, which break down collagen fibers. As a result, your collagen starts to thin out, causing your skin to appear saggy and wrinkly. 

While we're younger, our body fights off these factors, keeping stride to produce the collagen our skin needs to appear healthy. Around age 35, however, collagen loss occurs as our collagen-making cells start to slow.

Repetitive motions, such as frowning and squinting, causes skin creases. The skin doesn't have enough collagen to fill these spaces, causing the creases to become permanent wrinkles. 

Thankfully, making lifestyle changes now can help promote collage stimulation for the long-term. For example, you can start cutting out your morning cup of coffee.

You can also add antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to help your skin combat collagen loss. 

Foods to Add

When we eat protein, our body breaks it down into amino acids. This allows the body to absorb the nutrients it needs, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. To add these nutrients into your daily diet, look for:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Liver
  • Cod liver oil

These proteins can effectively help your body produce more collagen.

Fruits and vegetables that help boost collagen production include:

  • Bell peppers
  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • Tropical fruits (mango, kiwi, pineapple, guava)
  • Beans
  • Leafy greens (swiss chard, kale, spinach)
  • Citrus (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes)

You can also mix bone broth, garlic, beans, and egg whites into your diet. With this combination of foods, you can start combating natural collagen production for healthy, glowing skin. 

Foods to Avoid

Cutting out a few foods can help your skin, too. For starters, keep an eye on your sugar and carbohydrate consumption. Both can cause inflammation and damage your skin's collagen.

Instead, prioritize mineral-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as protein-rich animal and plant foods. 

Extra Nutrients

Other nutrients that can combat collagen loss in skin cells include vitamin C, zinc, and copper.

2. Antioxidants and Sunscreen 

Over-exposure from the sun's UVA rays can also hurt collagen stimulation. 

Our bodies need about two hours of sunlight over the span of two days for the collagen degrading enzymes to activate. With frequent sunscreen application, you can protect your skin and maintain collagen production. 

Start by using a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Make sure to apply it more than once a day if you're likely to sweat it off in a few hours.

Your skin also needs antioxidants to relieve inflammation and neutralize damaging free radicals. Antioxidants can also stimulate your body's new collagen production while protecting your existing collagen.

Products that combine antioxidants and vitamin C are great for the skin. We'll dive into both ingredients in-depth below. 

3. Collagen-Building Ingredients

Changing your diet and using sunscreen can protect your existing collagen while boosting collagen production. You can also find products with these collagen-building ingredients to further nourish your skin.

Vitamin A Derivatives

Some skin hydration products include vitamin A derivatives, which can help increase levels of procollagen (the precursor to collagen). Prescription retinoic acid and retinol both stimulate the body's cells that aid collagen production. 

Both ingredients also organize your body's existing collagen.

However, some people find these ingredients irritate the skin. If you're using products with retinol, limit yourself to a pea-size portion for your entire face.

Aloe

Many people already use aloe vera gel to soothe their skin after a sunburn. It's also helpful for easing rashes away. However, you can also take an extract of aloe, called Aloe sterols, orally.

This study recognized aloe's ability to:

  • Stimulate growth in the correct cells
  • Increase hyaluronic acid and collagen production
  • Reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles

Aloe is used as a topical cream as well as an oral supplement. 

Vitamin C

Our bodies can't make vitamin C on its own, so it's important to get this vitamin from fruits and leafy greens.

Vitamin C plays an important role in protecting the skin and creating additional collagen. By adding this vitamin to your diet, you can shield the collagen you already have while boosting your body's natural production. 

Many skincare products are adding vitamin C to their creams as well.

You can also find vitamin C in:

  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Papaya
  • Leafy vegetables (spinach and kale)
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, limes, grapefruits)

If vitamin C isn't listed as an ingredient in your current products, you can take it as an oral supplement.

Hyaluronic Acid

According to this study, hyaluronic acid can help increase the human body's natural collagen production. As an important compound for creating collagen, hyaluronic acid can help strengthen your skin's elasticity. 

While it's available as a supplement, you can also add hyaluronic acid to your diet through foods that are rich in amino acids. These include soy, root vegetables, and beans. 

Peptides & Growth Factors

Peptides are messengers in the body that tell your cells to increase collagen production.

Growth factors, on the other hand, stimulate your body's fibroblasts and stem cells. This encourages the production of new cells and collagen. 

Peptides and growth factors are less likely to irritate the skin than vitamin A. However, you'll need to use these ingredients longer to notice an effect. Consider using retinoids at night, then peptides and growth factors in the morning to balance your skincare regimen.

Astrion™️

Derived from Astragalus membranaceous and Centella Asiatica extracts, Astrion™ is a clinically-studied plant-based cosmeceutical ingredient. This ingredient provides skin hydration and works with your body's natural pathways to produce supple, radiant skin. 

In addition to nourishing the skin, Astrion™ works to both limit collagen loss and stimulate collagen production to help your skin feel young and strong. 

Astrion™ not only works with your collagen levels but helps your body produce more hyaluronic acid naturally. Together, these two functions help to create more strength and structure in the skin, while promoting hydration and fullness. 

Astrion™ is available as an ingredient for topical and oral solutions.

Ginseng

This study used the Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer root extract (PGRE) to explore collagen production in human dermal fibroblast cells. While ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, this study showed it can also increase collagen levels in the bloodstream. 

Ginseng's antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties can support collagen stimulation. The root also has the potential to slow skin cell aging. 

Antioxidants

Antioxidants protect your entire body from free radicals, which can potentially damage the skin and body. While not all antioxidants work to increase collagen stimulation, they can help with your existing collagen. 

You can find antioxidants in:

  • Green tea
  • Yerba mate
  • Licorice extract
  • Coffee extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Blueberries
  • Basil, oregano, and thyme essential oils
  • Pomegranate extract

Retinol is also an antioxidant that can help increase your body's collagen production. In addition to extending your collagen's lifespan, retinol also blocks enzymes that could destroy collagen.

In other words, retinol is great for maintaining your existing collagen levels while increasing collagen stimulation. 

4. Switch Out Those Skincare Products

Once you know which ingredients to look out for, start adding these ingredients to your daily skincare regimen. Make sure to look for products that mention:

  • DNA-repairing enzymes
  • Antioxidants
  • Peptides

It's important to note that not every product that claims it can "boost collagen levels" is effective. While there are plenty of lotions, creams, and moisturizers on the market, not every product can dive into the skin's lower layers.

Instead of looking for skincare products that promise collagen production, look for the collagen-stimulating ingredients we mentioned above. Prioritizing ingredients over marketing promises can help you reduce collagen loss without breaking the bank. 

5. Get Professional Protection

There are also a number of professional-grade skincare treatments that can limit your collagen loss. For example, you can try:

  • Red light therapy
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical peels

However, you should note your skin will need time to heal after these treatments. 

Red light therapy, or low-level laser light therapy, could safely increase your skin's collagen production. 

By boosting collagen, this treatment option could also improve wrinkles and skin elasticity. It also claims no side effects. 

Dermatologists also use resurfacing lasers, which can activate collagen-producing cells and hyaluronic acid fillers. 

Preventing Collagen Loss: Protect and Nourish Your Skin's Collagen

Ready for younger-looking skin? By preventing collagen loss, you can protect your skin's existing collagen to prevent signs of aging. Then, give your collagen levels and boost to keep your skin strong and healthy!

Contact us today to learn more about innovation and quality ingredients for your path to wellness.